15 Facts About Buddy Bolden


Charles Joseph "Buddy" Bolden was an African American cornetist who was regarded by contemporaries as a key figure in the development of a New Orleans style of ragtime music, or "jass", which later came to be known as jazz.


Westmore Bolden was around 25 at the time, as records show that he was 19 in August 1866.


When Buddy Bolden was six his father died, after which the boy lived with his mother and other family members.


In records of the period the family name is variously spelled Bolen, Bolding, Boldan, and Buddy Bolden, thus complicating research.


Buddy Bolden likely attended Fisk School in New Orleans, though evidence is circumstantial, as early records of this and other local schools are missing.


Buddy Bolden was known as "King" Buddy Bolden, and his band was at its peak in New Orleans from around 1900 to 1907.


Buddy Bolden was known for his loud sound and improvisational skills, and his style had an impact on younger musicians.


Buddy Bolden is credited with creating a looser, more improvised version of ragtime and adding blues; Bolden's band was said to be the first to have brass instruments play the blues.


Buddy Bolden was said to have adapted ideas from gospel music heard in uptown African-American Baptist churches.


Buddy Bolden rearranged the typical New Orleans dance band of the time to better accommodate the blues: string instruments became the rhythm section, and the front-line instruments were clarinets, trombones, and Bolden's cornet.


Buddy Bolden was known for his powerful, loud, "wide open" playing style.


One of the best known Bolden numbers is "Funky Butt", which represents one of the earliest references to the concept of funk in popular music.


Buddy Bolden had an episode of acute alcoholic psychosis in 1907 at age 30.


Buddy Bolden has inspired a number of fictional characters with his name.


Buddy Bolden married Hattie Oliver and had a child with her, born on the second of May, 1897.